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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 9, 2017 (AM)

 
If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
From November 9 to 15, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit Viet Nam and the Philippines, where he will attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and ASEAN-related Summit Meetings , respectively. At the TPP Leaders’ Meeting that will also be held in conjunction with the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the Prime Minister is expected to take the lead in driving discussions on free trade and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. At the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings, the Prime Minister will seek to strengthen Japan-ASEAN relations and also send out a strong message to the international community about regional issues, including North Korea, working together with other attending countries. Taking this opportunity, the Prime Minister is also planned  to hold summit meetings with the leaders of various countries, including President Putin of Russia and President Xi of China.

Q&As

REPORTER: Could you tell us about the Government’s expectations for the outcomes of the APEC and ASEAN meetings that you have just announced?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, at the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings the Prime Minister will seek to strengthen Japan-ASEAN relations and also send out a strong message to the international community about regional issues, including North Korea, together with other participating countries. In conjunction with the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the TPP Leaders’ Meeting is also scheduled to be held and the Prime Minister will take the lead in driving discussion on free trade and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

REPORTER: What is the status of arrangements for summit meetings with President Putin and President Xi?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: These meetings are planned to take place.

REPORTER: I understand that arrangements are being made for summit meetings with President Putin and President Xi, but could you tell us which meeting and which issue the Government wishes to place greatest emphasis on?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government always commits to all  of these summit meetings and devotes  itself fully to them.

REPORTER: What sort of matters relating to North Korea would be discussed in the meetings with President Putin and President Xi?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in the Japan-Russia summit meeting, the Government wishes to engage in a dialogue, based on the outcomes of the previous summit meeting in Vladivostok in September, on bilateral issues, including the conclusion of a peace treaty, and also urgent international matters, including the issue of North Korea. As for the Japan-China summit meeting, given that this year marks the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China and next year will be the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, we will seek to discuss ways to further improve Japan-China relations and exchange views on North Korea.

REPORTER: I have a question about the Osprey transport aircraft of the U.S. Forces. Yesterday the Ministry of Defense announced that as of the end of September this year, the accident rate for Osprey aircraft operated by the U.S. Marine Corps stood at 3.27 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. This is the worst figure since the deployment of the Osprey aircraft in Japan in 2012, so could I ask for your views on whether it can be truly said that the safety of the Osprey aircraft has been ensured, which has been the Government’s explanation to date?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with respect to the Osprey aircraft, I have nothing to add to the announcement made yesterday by the Ministry of Defense. Furthermore, the Government’s position is that ensuring safety aspects is a prerequisite for the operation of aircraft by the U.S. Forces, and we will continue to request that the U.S. pay maximum attention to all aspects of safety.

REPORTER: Various concerns have been voiced about the safety of the Osprey aircraft, including the fatal crash accident that occurred off the coast of Australia in August. Given that the Ministry of Defense is planning to deploy 17 Osprey aircraft from FY2019 onwards, can I ask whether this latest report will have any impact on the deployment plans?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is well-aware of domestic concerns about the  deployment plans of the Ministry of Defense and will continue to strongly request the United States to pay maximum attention to all aspects of safety when operating flights.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a further question about the amount of defense equipment purchases. Purchases of military equipment from the Government of the United States, referred to as Foreign Military Sales (FMS) , stood at approximately 360 billion yen over the five-year period from FY2008 to 2012. However, in budget compilations since the start of the Abe administration, that figure has ballooned 4.5-fold, rising to approximately 1.6 trillion yen over the five-year period from FY2013 to FY2017. I asked a question on the same topic yesterday, but in  anticipation of an emergency situation in North Korea,   spending on defense equipment is rapidly expanding. At the same time, however, there are some comments, such as proposals to make students pay back tuition fees once they start work  or to exempt unlicensed day-care centers from the provision of free services, starting to emerge from inside the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Headquarters for the Revitalization of Education , which appear to go against the LDP’s campaign pledge to make education free. In the recent election there were many people who voted with high expectations that education would be made free. Can I therefore ask for the Government’s view on the current situation in which the expanding purchases of defense equipment mean that funds are being diverted away from initiatives to cover education expenses?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the two issues you have raised are completely separate from one another. The Government will uphold the pledges we made during the election campaign. There is nothing further to say.

REPORTER: Speaking of other issues, take for example the “Ivanka Fund,”  which has been established by the World Bank  and to which the Government has announced it will contribute 5.7 billion yen. It would appear that the budget to pay for making education free in Japan is being reduced, while contributions such as the one to the Fund  are being made. Is it the Government’s view that rather than allocating funds for making education free, it is necessary to make contributions to the “Ivanka Fund” and expand purchases of defense equipment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we would like you to ask questions that are actually based on facts. There is no entity called the “Ivanka Fund.” The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)  was established at the G20 Hamburg Summit by the World Bank Group and other participating countries, all of which have contributed to the We-Fi facility, which is entirely different to the point you attempted to make in your question.
 

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